Rwanda Takes to Cyberspace in Battle Against Covid-19

Nyarugenge Pension Plazza which hosts the Ministry of environment

In the wake of a decision limiting citizen movement as a measure to contain the rapid spread of Coronavirus, government institutions have now strengthened the use of digital services to keep business moving on.

The move is part of the government precautions to avoid the spread of coronavirus after the first case reported in Kigali this March 14th before increasing to 8 cases by March 18th.

The government passed directives to limit movements but allow workers to work from home wherever possible as a way of minimizing disruption to the service sector and other programs.

Among the first to move in this direction is the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) which has encouraged use of its e-services that include business, mortgage, and investment registration among others.

Following suit, the ministry of environment also said that they will not allow any paperwork and all letters have to effective March 17th be sent by email. For instance all documents to this ministry will be sent and handled on info@environment.gov.rw

“For anyone who has a special case and needs to meet in person with the ministry staff, they will have to do it by videoconferencing or Skype,” the environment ministry said in a statement today.

The ministry of agriculture which is also bracing for a bumpy harvest in this season, after facing market challenges in 2019, said that all its services for farmers will be provided by the local vets, agronomists, farmer advisers to avoid movement and while all paperwork will be done on email (info@minagri.gov.rw) unless otherwise.

The city of Kigali authorities which on a daily basis handles a pile of paperwork applications for land registration, construction permits and authorizations said that it will now strictly keep all its business moving through whatsapp (+250789448873), livechat (www.bpmis.gov.rw) and through email exchanges on onestopcenter@kigali.gov.rw

For concerns directed to the city council and its three districts Gasabo, Nyarugenge and Kicukiro citizens will have to use the following email- info@kigalicity.gov.rw, info@gasabo.gov.rw, info@nyarugenge.gov.rw, and info@kicukiro.gov.rw

As a covid19 preventive effort, Rwanda Education Board (REB) has also totally cancelled their daily activities of issuing examination equivalence papers, collection and document certification for the next two weeks starting March 16.

REB says it can be reached for further details on financial issues concerning the institution, REB has directed Rwandans to use this email jnkurikiyinka@reb.rw or call 0788462159.

The utilities companies like Water and Sanitation (Wasac) indicated that business such as application for connection will be done using their website (www.wasac.rw) and written documents have to be sent on email (contact@wasac.rw) while all complaints be directed to their social media accounts or call their closest branches.

With a pile of work to do, Lawmakers had their last days of business this Monday March 16, 2020 as part of the decisions in preventing of covid19 among parliamentarians who had a pile of committee meetings and ongoing field visits.

“In line with the Government of Rwanda’s measures to prevent Covid-19, all parliamentary activities are suspended” said Maurice Kabandana, Director of Outreach, communication & Documentation.
The banking sector remained functional with similar measures of using digital transactions or cashless payments but reduced daily time of work by two hours from 8am to 5pm instead of 8pm, and focused sanitary measures within bank premises.
For example Bank of Kigali urged its clients who want to do direct business, to keep a one meter distances between each other while in the bank premises
The bank will be open between 8.00 am and 5PM. Normally, the bank activities would go up to 8PM in some branched.

The taxman Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) also announced an extension of the tax declaration by two days starting yesterday.

Early February Rwanda had already had an opportunity to upgrade its online government services such as birth and marriage certificates which can now be received in digital form.

With a 96% 4G internet coverage, these new changes are expected to see Rwandans depend on the internet and telecom services to stay relevant and productive as the numbers of covid19 infections have now clocked to eight cases of the 418 cases in Africa.




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